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BT Sport scores own goal with £897m Champions League footie rights deal

Pfft. Laying fibre is boring - let's pay over the odds for soccer rights

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BT massively padded out its investment in the telecom giant's new Sports TV channel on Saturday after it won the rights to show all UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League football matches for three seasons from 2015/16.

It has splurged £900m on the TV rights, adding to the £738m it already sunk into 38 live Premier League games that are airing on BT Sport as it attempts to compete for more of BSkyB's subscribers.

BT has been trying to give its brand a facelift - at the cost of £1.5bn so far - with its shift into TV content.

"The live rights will give a major boost to BT Sport and give people yet another reason to take our terrific service," said the company's boss Gavin Patterson.

"BT Sport has got off to a strong start with customers enjoying what we have to offer. We have attracted millions of customers by giving sport back to the fans, and we can assure people who want to catch all the action, that European football will be far more accessible and affordable with BT."

But some viewers are already complaining about the fact that more and more football matches are being snatched from free-to-air channels in the UK.

Analyst Claire Enders told the Telegraph that BT had paid well over the odds for the TV rights. For the present three-year Champions League seasons BSkyB and ITV together pay nearly £400m for the live football matches.

"It’s an extreme move. It’s hard to see what’s happened to UEFA rights to make them worth over twice as much," Enders said.

In its most recent quarter ended 30 September, BT said it had spent £140m on its sports channel. ®

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